Fanning was confirmed under secretary by the Senate April 18 and, under federal law, automatically assumes the job of acting secretary until the president nominates and the Senate confirms a replacement. Fanning will continue to serve as under secretary during this time.
Donley was confirmed as the 22nd secretary of the Air Force Oct. 2, 2008. He served as the acting secretary since June of that year, as well as for seven months in 1993, making him the longest serving secretary in the history of the Air Force.
The service has had numerous acting secretaries over the years. Most recently, in 2005, three individuals served in the acting role in between the tenures of Dr. James Roche and Michael Wynne. From Jan. 20 to Nov. 4, 2005, Peter Teets, Michael Dominguez and Pete Geren filled the position, in varying durations.
The secretary is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 334,000 men and women on active duty, 176,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, 170,000 civilians, and their families. He also oversees the Air Force’s annual budget of more than $110 billion.